Two weeks to go before the NFL season begins. Training camp coming to a close and position battles and injuries shaping the landscape. There are a few changes we need to pay attention to. Here are my updated LB rankings for your IDP drafts.  

Stock up

TJ Watt moves up from 11 to 8 as a lot of IDP leagues are starting to adjust their scoring systems and I think this helps Watt.  Look for Watt to dominate again this season and compete for the top spot in defensive player leagues.

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One of the keys to IDP leagues is knowing your scoring system. They are sort of like dates, whether it be a guy or girl, they all have the same two chromosomes, but they can all be vastly different. If you’re just starting out playing in an IDP league this is the most important thing to know before you draft. Your rankings will be highly dependent on the scoring system so do not go into it blindly with some list of rankings.

The scoring for IDP generally breaks down into three categories, similar to standard and PPR scoring for offense, and they are based on the ratio of points given to tackles and “big plays”. Balanced scoring systems will have a ratio of big play to solo tackle points of 3:1 to 4:1.  If it’s above 4:1, the scoring is considered ‘big play heavy” and if it’s less than 3:1, it’s “tackle heavy”.

I’ve played in an IDP league for about 15 years and it’s big play heavy.  So what I’ve done is look at two other scoring systems and compared the players who finished 1-25 in my league with how they would finish in the other scoring systems.  It’s obviously not the complete picture, but it gives you an idea of the types of players that are favored in each format. I used the scoring from Fantasy Pros to use as our “tackle heavy” format as their big play to tackle ration is a little less than 3:1.  For the balanced approach I used the IDP 123 system from Expand the Boxscore’s Jordan Rains.  The scoring categories included are Solo Tackles, Assisted Tackles, Sacks, Forced Fumbles, Recovered Fumbles, Interceptions, Passes Defensed, and TDs. Each player’s stats are from MyFantasyLeague.  The scoring systems points are in the chart below.

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I know you’ve been on the edge of your seats waiting for the second half of my linebacker rankings to drop.  Well probably not but since you probably have to draft more than 2 in 12 team leagues, this should be useful.  We see the debut of three rookies for those who asked “Where are the rookies?” in response to my top 25.  We have three tiers here in the second 25 because, well, the differences between these players start to get smaller.  

Remember in leagues where you are starting two linebackers, these are all bench guys/bye week fillers if you were smart enough to take two of my top 25.  Here you want to look for upside if you took players towards the end of the top 25 or you just don’t agree with my rankings. If you took Darius Leonard, look for a guy who has a great matchup in week 7 because, well, you’re not benching him. Ever.  Or you can just go with the boring guy like Matt Milano who will give you tackles week in and week out.

 

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Isaiah Crowell Cleveland Browns
After giving my selection for most underrated and overrated players in upcoming fantasy football drafts, my pick for biggest sleeper is Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell. Most importantly, “The Crow” has the privilege of running behind a newly revamped offensive line that includes ProFootballFocus.com‘s top offensive guard duo of Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio in addition to future Hall-of-Fame left tackle Joe Thomas and free agent addition Center J.C. Tretter. Last season, the Browns offensive line ranked in the Top5 in terms of creating yards before contact for running backs, and the line has only gotten better.  Crowell, the 24 year-old former first overall running back recruit out of high school, believes that he will have a “Monster Season” and coach Hue Jackson has stressed during OTA interviews how the need to get the running game going early in games from the start of the season to set the tone for the franchise moving forward. Early reports out of training camp suggest that backup running back Duke Johnson is actually the leader for the slot receiver role, which further solidifies Crowell as a rare workhorse volume running back. Another major factor in Crowell’s sleeper status is that he is currently ranked as the 13th best running back per FantasyPros.com with an ADP of 25, making him a 3rd round pick depending on league size. Looking at the names in the same tier as Crowell, he is slotted about right where he should be when taken in consensus, but in many drafts, rookie running backs Joe Mixon and Christian McCaffery may leapfrog Crowell based on pedigree and training camp hype. Even a player like Marshawn Lynch, who is 2 year removed from the NFL grind and has a stable of capable young running backs behind him could sneak his way past Crowell by the time your draft rolls around in late August.

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What’s up all you IDP junkies? It’s J to the F-O-H here to cover Kevin while he is off in Argentina working on Kevin Jr.. I imagine him munching on a steak with some chimi-churri and sipping on some Quilmes. I will not be doing the rankings, that’s his thing (which will still be updated and found below), but I will be covering the RazzDP’s in lieu of his usual player highlights and buys. I have a confession, I am not as deeply knowledgeable as Kevin in this format, but I have been playing IDP leagues for about six years now. Now don’t get me wrong, I have strong IDP knowledge, just not as vast and kick-ass as Kevin. Strangely the RazzDP’s are only my second venture into standard scoring, for I always customize my leagues for more dynamic numbers and higher rewards. I prefer more love for quality defensive performances. But that’s another article where I lay out my preferred scoring for IDP players. Damn stupid tangent… or is that agenda? Please feel free to share any opinions about what kind of scoring you like. Or any other opinion about anything… as long as it’s clean.

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